Compressor is making levels crazy high

I began with low recording levels. I’ve since acquired a Cloud Lifter that solves this original problem, but still have a bunch of audio that I need to prep for an audio book.

Here’s what I’ve done to the audio:

  1. Noise reduction (12, 2.00, 3)
  2. Normalize (-3.2)
  3. Manually removed noise between speech

For some reason when I try to apply Compressor, the levels hit the roof in the higher peaks.

My question is: where should I go from here? I want to level out the volume, as some parts are too low, and some too high…

Thanks for any help!

  • Robb

Rode Procaster mic (with pop filter)
Focusrite 2i2
Sony MDR-V6 headphones
Windows 10, Vaio laptop

Audacity settings:
Host: windows direct sound
Playback device: Focusrite USB (Focusrite USB Audio)
Recording device: Focusrite USB (Focusrite USB Audio)
Channels: 1 (mono)
Default sample rate: 44100 Hz
Default sample format: 32-bit float

You mean with Audacity’s compressor?
What settings are you using?

Don’t use the Leveler effect unless you want to add a distortion effect.

It’s generally best to use compression effects on audio that has been normalized to 0 dB.

The “based on Peak” settings in the Audacity Compressor gives “upward compression” (evens the level upward toward 0 dB), so you will probably want to Amplify the track back down to a lower level after applying the Compressor effect.

Yes I am using Audacity’s compressor…no matter what my settings, some peaks end up hitting the ceiling. Is this okay?

Try this:

  1. Amplify to 0 dB (default settings)
  2. Apply Compressor effect with settings shown below. (peak level will remain at 0 dB)
  3. Normalize to whatever peak level you want (currently your peak level is around -6 dB).

Seems to be working, thanks!

I also tried this before your last post:

  1. Compressor (-20, -40)
  2. Amplify (-3)
    …and the results look like a mirror of your instructions.

(both pass ACX!)

Will either work?